I have suffered from digestive issues for my entire adult life. From lactose intolerance to GERD, I’ve got it. Because of this, I am constantly searching for food and drink that sit well on my fickle stomach. So, I decided to compile this list to help out my fellow tin-tummy citizens of the world.
Meals from fast-food restaurants that are easy on the stomach are those that are high in fiber and protein and low in fat. In general, such options are the best option for the overall health of your stomach.
In this article, I’ll explain the various reasons why fast food may upset your stomach. I’ll also recommend some of the better fast foods to choose to prevent this from happening.
10 Fast Food Choices That Are Easy on the Stomach
If you’re in a hurry and need to eat a fast food meal, thankfully, there are many choices for sensitive stomachs. Below is a table explaining the best fast food choices that are easy on the stomach and the pros and cons of each:
|McDonald’s Egg McMuffin||High in protein to keep you fuller for longer||The muffin part contains refined carbohydrates with little fiber and can cause your blood sugar level to spike|
|Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad||An excellent way to consume your daily recommended vitamins and nutrients||No carbohydrates so not suitable before or after heavy exercise|
|Burger King Hamburger||Low in sodium and suitable for those with high blood pressure||Contains red meat|
|Chick-fil-A 12-Piece Grilled Nuggets||Low-calorie option|
Low in carbs and fat
|Can be plain-tasting without sauce|
|Starbucks Blueberry Oatmeal||Low in calories Fiber-rich|
Satisfying due to the high-carb content
|Little protein and you may feel hungry within a couple of hours|
|Taco Bell Veggie Power Menu Bowl||Black beans are an excellent lean protein source|
Full of antioxidants
|High refined-carb content|
|Subway Veggie Delite Sandwich||Tasty way to consume plenty of vitamins and fiber||Not suitable if you’re gluten-intolerant|
|KFC Original Recipe Grilled Chicken Wings||Tasty and protein-rich|
|Serving size may not be satisfying|
Low in vitamins
|Dairy Queen Grilled Chicken Sandwich||Low in saturated fat|
Excellent greasy hamburger alternative
|Contains little fiber and many refined carbs|
|Panera Avocado, Egg White, and Spinach Sandwich||Full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fat||May taste bland as it contains very little seasoning|
I’ll discuss these sensitive stomach-friendly options in more detail below:
1. McDonald’s: Egg McMuffin
McDonald’s is arguably the most popular fast-food restaurant in the world, and trying to eat healthy here can be challenging at times. If you still want a satisfying meal, then an Egg McMuffin is the way to go.
The Egg McMuffin comes in at 300 calories (1255 kJ) with 12 grams (0.42 oz) of fat, 30 grams (1.05 oz) of carbs, and 17 grams (0.6 oz) of protein.
The high amount of protein will keep your hunger satisfied, while the lower amount of fat will keep your stomach happy. And with McDonald’s breakfast now served all day, there’s no excuse for missing out on this delicious treat.
2. Wendy’s: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
If you’re going to opt for a fast-food salad, then Wendy’s is the place to be. Their apple pecan chicken salad does not skip out on flavor.
A full apple pecan chicken salad from Wendy’s offers 23 grams (0.8 oz) of fat, 41 grams (1.45 oz) of carbs, and 39 grams (1.38 oz) of protein. This meal comes in at 520 calories (2176 kJ).
This salad is chock full of healthy ingredients that shouldn’t disturb your stomach. The chicken is grilled instead of fried, making it a very smart option for both your stomach and your health. The pecans also provide an extra kick of protein and fiber to help you digest your meal better.
3. Burger King: Hamburger
You can still enjoy the traditional Burger King hamburger without causing your stomach to hurt.
A regular hamburger from Burger King contains 10 grams (0.35 oz) of fat, 26 grams (0.92 oz) of carbs, and 13 grams (0.46 oz) of protein. This is also one of the lower-sodium items on the menu, coming in at 380mg (0.013 oz).
If gluten causes your digestive issues, you can also order it without the bun. And if fast-food hamburgers tend to upset your stomach, then you may consider trying out Burger King’s plant-based sandwich.
4. Chick-fil-A: 12-Piece Grilled Nuggets
Everyone loves a good chicken nugget, but the fried chicken most restaurants offer often causes stomach problems.
Chick-fil-A’s grilled nuggets are a great alternative to the classic fried chicken nuggets. Twelve nuggets are only 210 calories (879 kJ) and contain 5 grams (0.18 oz) of fat, 3 grams (0.11 oz) of carbs, and 38 grams (1.34 oz) of protein.
The low carb and fat content make it a great option for people who are health-conscious, and the high protein content makes it great for satiety and muscle growth.
5. Taco Bell: Veggie Power Menu Bowl
The veggie power menu bowl from Taco Bell is a healthy and satisfying menu option.
This bowl comes in at 430 calories (1799 kJ) with 17 grams (0.56 oz) of fat, 57 grams (2 oz) of carbs, and 12 grams (0.42 oz) of protein. This bowl is somewhat high in carbs, but it’s still a better alternative than many Taco Bell menu items.
If you’re more interested in a taco, order it “fresco style” for a healthier choice. This replaces the foods that often cause an upset stomach –such as sour cream, guacamole, sauces with mayo, and cheeses– with fresh pico de gallo, instead.
6. Starbucks: Blueberry Oatmeal
Starbucks has a fairly healthy menu all around, but some choices are better than others. Classic oatmeal is always a safe choice because it’s high in fiber, which is good for your gut health. Blueberry oatmeal offers all of the same benefits while also giving you a full serving of fruit.
One serving of blueberry oatmeal from Starbucks contains 220 calories (920.5 kJ), 2.5 grams (0.09 oz) of fat, 43 grams (1.52 oz) of carbs, and 5 grams (0.18 oz) of protein.
Not only can oatmeal from Starbucks prevent an upset stomach, but it can also help ease an already upset stomach.
7. Subway: Veggie Delite Sandwich
Subway is generally one of the healthiest fast-food chains if you know what and how to order. The veggie delite sandwich is full of delicious and healthy vegetables.
One 6-inch sub is 200 calories (837 kJ) and contains 2 grams (0.07 oz) of fat, 39 grams (1.38 oz) of carbs, and 8 grams (0.28 oz) of protein.
This choice should be very easy on the stomach as it contains no grease, only fresh ingredients. If you’re looking for something a little heavier, then the tuna sandwich is your next best bet.
8. KFC: Original Recipe Grilled Chicken Wings
The traditional fried chicken options from KFC can make your stomach hurt due to the high amount of grease and fat. KFC offers a wide selection of grilled chicken options that should be better for the digestive system.
A grilled chicken wing from KFC comes in at 130 calories (544 kJ) and contains 8 grams (0.28 oz) of fat, 3 grams (0.11 oz) of carbs, and 10 grams (0.35 oz) of protein. Three grilled chicken wings is the suggested serving size.
Paired with some fresh broccoli, this makes for a balanced meal that should be easy to digest.
9. Dairy Queen: Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Grilled chicken wins once again. The grilled chicken sandwich is a great choice from the popular Dairy Queen chain.
One grilled chicken sandwich offers 15 grams (0.53 oz) of fat, 34 grams (1.2 oz) of carbs, and 29 grams (1.02 oz) of protein.
If you would like to pair this with ice cream, then the best stomach-friendly option would be a cup of soft serve.
10. Panera: Avocado, Egg White, and Spinach Sandwich
Everyone loves a good sandwich from Panera. One of the best options is the avocado, egg white, and spinach sandwich.
This sandwich has 14 grams (0.49 oz) of fat, 52 grams (1.83 oz) of carbs, and 21 grams (0.74 oz) of protein.
While this option is higher in fat, it’s generally composed of healthy fats from the avocado and is packed with protein from the egg whites.
Why Does Your Stomach Hurt After Eating Fast Food?
Your stomach may hurt after eating fast food due to high amounts of grease and fat. Greasy and high-fat foods can be harmful to your health and cause stomach aches and other issues. Furthermore, if you don’t eat fast foods very often, your body may have an adverse reaction when you do eat them.
The major culprit when it comes to an aching stomach after fast food is the grease that these restaurants cook with.
Greasy food has also been known to harm the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. A healthy gut is essential to keeping your immune system high and your heart healthy. If you destroy your gut with greasy fast foods, you could have more serious health consequences than just a stomach ache.
High in Fat
The high amount of grease in fast foods also tends to increase the amount of fat you’re consuming. Your body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fats, but fast food gives you less protein and more unhealthy fats and carbs.
Fat is also the hardest of the three macronutrients for your body to break down, so consuming large amounts of it can cause an upset stomach.
Your Body Isn’t Used to It
Aside from having a low nutritional value, fast food is just not something that most people are used to having on a daily basis.
It takes time for your digestive system to adapt to new foods, and fast food is no exception. While some foods can be easy for your body to adjust to, fast food is not usually in this category due to it being very processed and high in sodium.
For more, check out 6 Best Alcoholic Drinks That Are Easy on the Stomach.
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Hey, I’m Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!